BEIRUT: Last week, all eyes were on hospital mobile robot SASHA which made the news on Thursday with its promise to deliver the right meals to the right patients without the need for any human intervention, thereby minimizing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We [Revotonix] are proud to introduce SASHA with the mission to reduce infection rates, assist with patients’ care and reduce wasted time,” Wassim Hariri, Lebanese cofounder and CEO of Revotonix, the company behind the design and manufacturing of SASHA, told Annahar. “We are the first robotics company in Lebanon and the Middle East to specialize in developing fully autonomous mobile robots.”
Founded in 2018 (a year after SASHA was created by Hariri and his team), Revotonix has portfolios of robots in the fields of advertising, healthcare and industry (manufacturing).It made headlines in 2018 with its advertising robot Felix which can navigate around in public places such as malls, airports, conferences, displaying ads in a creative and interactive way, while avoiding obstacles according to international safety standards.
Revotonix has now relaunched SASHA into the market after claiming that the market is now more “ready”.
“Back in 2017 when my partner and I first launched SASHA, our main barrier to entry was the lack of market or product awareness among hospitals,” Hariri said. “They were not ready to accept the essential role of robots in carrying out routine tasks and reducing infection by reducing human contact. But now with the coronavirus, I think we all learned a very important lesson.”
SASHA was first manufactured in Germany with the aim of distributing food to hospital patients and safely navigating hospital grounds. While Hariri is pleased with his invention, there was no way he could have forecasted the importance of SASHA in fighting today’s epidemic. “It certainly came as a surprise for me when I realized SASHA’s importance in fighting the spread of the coronavirus,” Hariri said. “This is what gave us our edge in reintroducing it to the market.”
Is SASHA for sale now?
SASHA is currently not for sale. (The robot that appeared in the news was a sample robot from Revotonix in Germany). Hariri and his partner have signed an agreement with international healthcare organization Medwell Healthcare which has premises in US, Canada and UAE and which will be working on introducing SASHA to the hospitals in these countries in the coming months. Ultimate selling price? $45,000. “A very competitive price for mobile robots,” Hariri said confidently.
“At the moment there is no presence of SASHA in Lebanese hospitals,” Hariri told Annahar. “We have three leads from three hospitals in the UAE, and we are working on these. However, we are doing our best to have SASHA up and running in Lebanese hospitals.”
What are Revotonix's future plans?
Revotonix is currently working on another robot for its healthcare portfolio, a robot that is specialized in disinfecting. While Hariri seemed reluctant to disclose any more information, he did say that his company will be announcing the arrival of the robot “in two weeks”.
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